Also a book groupie, I am…

April 1, 2008 § Leave a comment

Saturday (last) HM had so much work to do, he decided to screw it and spend the day out and about with me. (Oh, wise man!)  Truth is, he needed to distract himself from his desk as much as have some calloo callay time with me.

So we frolicked around the city and he pulled up on Euclid, got out, opened my door for me, then loaded the meter with quarters and led me across the street. To a bookstore! I had never been here: Big Sleep Books (subtitle is something about spies, lies and detectives…).

Nice. A tiny little shop. At first glance, one might think (especially if one is not a mystery reader or suspense/thriller/Chandler fan) that there is nothing of interest on the shelves.

Wrong. Oh, how wrong.

I was charmed. Intrigued. Momentarily couldn’t concentrate while taking in the quirky little room with all its counters and shelves. It didn’t take long to begin reading book jackets and spines and blurbs.

The guy behind the counter hadn’t read anything I held up and asked him about, BUT he was able to say “that one sells a lot” or “that one flies off the shelf” to several I pointed to. If he doesn’t say either of those two things, perhaps it’s not a huge commerical or “big sleep” kind of hit.

“Get something. Get something for yourself,” HM insisted.

“Oh, what, really?” I was momentarily caught off guard. After all, I’ve never been a dedicated mystery lover. I did read THE ALIENIST, every page of it. And I have a few Agatha Christie’s under my belt but never fell for Mary Higgins Clark or …or…who? See? I don’t know that crowd very well.

This shop though, at second, third and fourth glance had plenty going on. Chick lit mysteries. Turn of the century mysteries. Nouveau-set-on-the-Riviera mysteries. Ladies club this, teatotalers that, blood-and-guts suspense, LA noir…

HM was completely occupied; he reads everything, just as he listens to all kinds of music. It’s a  marvelous trait. I try, I really do but I just can’t fathom certain things like country music twang or self help or past life stuff.

Leave it to HM to lead me to another pleasant precipice. And jump I did, gladly to be buoyed up by all kinds of new choices, plots, names, atmospheres. 

After poking around for nearly a half hour, I discovered a turn-of-the-century-in-NYC series, the main character being a midwife…now, that NYC stuff turns my head every time. As does the early 20th century stuff. Plus, the series, though fairly new, had at least 4 books to it already so I could “fall” into it if I liked the first one. So I got the second one just in case.

HM found a hot seller (the clerk gave it a big nod and thumbs up), a book-and-author we’d never heard of, and we went to the counter.

Two women came into the shop as the guy was ringing up our stuff. I glanced at them and recognized Eileen Dryer. She is a published mystery author and she spoke at one of the writing workshops that Hippy, MJ and I did led a couple years ago. In fact, it was Hippy who made the connection and got Eileen to speak. And she was excellent. Everyone loved Eileen’s session.

And now, on  this grey Saturday afternoon, there was Eileen with a mystery writing friend (didn’t get her name) from LA. The guy behind the counter went berserk after he handed us our package and looked up to see the duo. They were all chatting away as HM and I left the store.

“I know her. That’s Eileen Dryer,” I said with as much delight as a kid who had just passed Albert Pujolz on the street might exhibit.

“Really? Who is it? Why don’t you say hello?”

“Well, she’d never remember me.”

“Yes, but she’d probably be delighted if you wanted her autograph. Want to get one of her books so she can sign it for you?”

“No, that’s OK. I’m glad to see her visiting an independent bookstore, though.”

Truth was, a big part of me was hell bent to get home and work on my own book so I could some day (soon?) arrive in a bookstore and have someone be glad that I ever put pen to paper.

Kudos, Eileen. 

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